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Monday, March 27, 2017

Mental Hurdles to Saving

Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 6, 2009

So far on my journey of saving money for some big purchases and saving money for longer term goals, like retirement, I’ve noticed a few typically hurdles that I keep running into.  Here are my thoughts some of them.

  1. Getting Starting: There always seems to be some serious resistance at the very start of any savings plan.  The reality is those first dollars are always the worst.  With almost no compounding going on it can literally feel like it will take forever to do anything long term.  There really isn’t any cure to this step other than just do it and start.  It will get easier as you go.
  2. Inconsistent Savings: Like any new habit it takes a bit to get used to savings.  You might remember for a month or two to transfer the money and then forget one paycheque.  One way to deal with this is to make it automatic.  With internet/phone banking it is a lot easy to setup automatic transfers into your savings accounts and avoid this issue.
  3. Conflicting Goals: Without fail when I start any savings goal something always comes up to knock it off target.  It could be a friend’s wedding you want to fly to attend or even a great sale on that thing you been wanting to by for the last two months.  I’ve found the easiest way to deal with these is to not save everything you can towards your main goals.  Keep a little extra savings around for those other things that come up in a year.  You feel a lot better when you can do a few extra things beyond your main targets.
  4. Giving Up: At least once for any goal that takes longer than a year you will likely consider giving up on the goal.  The reality is sometimes this feeling is triggered by events in life.  Like a week where work was hell, you over spent during that night out on Friday and you think you are getting sick.  Don’t make rash decisions based on short term problems.    So sit on it for a week and then decide.  You might actually be over saving so consider extending your time frame to save or reduce your target a bit or in the end you might just have something else you want to spend the money on.  You can change your mind if you want.

So those are my common hurdles.  What are some hurdles that you have run into?

Comments

4 Responses to “Mental Hurdles to Saving”
  1. For me personally I would add the pitfall of “We deserve it”

    We’ve saved $X for the past X months. We deserve to buy X.

    I guess you could lump this into being inconsistent. There is also always something around the house that needs replacing.

  2. Ray says:

    I think everyone has similar concerns when it comes to savings. But I always stress REALISTIC goal setting and then sticking to it. This doesn’t always work, but it does 90% of the time make things easier.

  3. Canadian Dream says:

    MG,

    I agree “We deserve it” is a big one for a lot of people. I still fall into it myself once in a while.

    Ray,

    Very good point. If you start out with a unrealistic goal you are likely going to fail.

    Tim

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